This collection of Marian poems honors the Blessed Virgin Mary's appearances at Guadalupe in Tepeyac, a poor area on the periphery of what today is known as Mexico City, Mexico. The Marian apparitions occurred between December 9 and 12 of 1531. The seers were Juan Diego and Juan Bernardino. Mary presented herself to Juan Diego as the Mother of God, but Juan Diego in turn presented her to the bishop as the Mother of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. The image of Mary was miraculously painted on the mantle of Juan Diego. Our Lady spoke to Juan Deigo about the need to practice loving kindness, compassion, and hospitality. Today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered as the empress, patron saint, and mother of the Americas. The date of the feast for Our Lady of Guadalupe is December 12.
|Ballad of Our Lady of Guadalupe
|Just listen to me, Sirs,
I'd like to sing you a song,
It's something that really happened:
I wouldn't string you along.
I want to tell you a true thing
About Our Lady of Tepeyac,
Who appeared to Juan Diego
On a deserted mountain track.
Juan Diego was an Indian,
Who came from Cautitlan.
He was crossing the mountains
Walking to beat the band.
He was crossing this mountain
That is known as Tepeyac.
Juan was going to Tlatelulco
And came from Tulpetlac.
He was crossing the mountains
To hear a Christian Mass;
The Franciscan fathers had taught him
that was worth the pass.
And as he crossed the mountain
He heard a voice divine,
And Juanito saw a Person
Lovelier than the Vine.
The Person said to Juanito
Where are you going now?
And Juan Diego answered
To hear the Mass, I vow.
Then the Virgin told him:
I'm Mary of Guadalupe
The Mother of Jesus Christ
And the Queen of all this group.
I've come to guard my children,
To make your country Mine.
Go and tell the Bishop
That he has to build me a shrine.
Tell him that Mary sent you,
Don't let him ever forget.
Juan Diego said farewell
And kept his purpose set.
Finally Juan Diego
Came to the Bishop's House,
And when he came to his presence
Told him what it was all about.
It was a Queen that sent me,
She told me to come to your house;
She told me to tell you
She wanted a Cathedral hereabouts.
The Bishop answered promptly:
You have to show me a sign
That it was the Virgin sent you
And that you haven't been drinking wine.
Go back, Juan Diego,
And bring me, if you can,
Some token superhuman
That has no taint of man.
Juan Diego left there promptly
With sad heart and dragging feet,
And went back to that hillside
Sad and unreplete.
When he reached the hillside
Where the Virgin had once surprised him,
She appeared again
And thus She catechised him.
|My son, what did they tell you?
And why do you look so sad?
Did you talk to the Bishop?
What did he say to make you mad?
Juan Diego stood there speechless
He didn't know what to say
Or how to inform Her
That only a sign could carry the day.
The Virgin simply answered:
Well if it's a sign he craves,
Don't cry and don't you worry
We've thousands in these caves.
And when he plucked those roses,
His heart began to sing
He went right to that Bishop
As glad as anything.
And when he came to his presence,
He didn't waste a word;
All the Bishop's servants
Knew that Juan had to be heard.
And when the Bishop saw him
His heart forgot to doubt.
Let's see what you have in your cloak, boy,
And what this is all about.
It's the token that you've asked for
The loveliest flowers that there've been,
With a freshness and a savor
That the world has never seen.
Juanito dropped his cloak then,
Let the roses fall
And disclosed Our Lady's picture:
Mother of sinners all.
All dropped to their knees then
At this miracle serene,
Crossed themselves and shouted,
"Long live the Indian Queen!"
And this is what really happened
Four hundred years ago,
In fifteen thirty-one
As you all rightly know.
And all the world has noted
The miracle of Four
And to this date the nations
Worship at Her door.
Hidalgo with his wisdom,
In eighteen hundred and ten,
In Her Name proclaimed the freedom
Of all the Mexican men.
And in Her name we conquered,
Broke off the Spanish bands,
Gave ourselves to Mary,
Left our destiny in Her hands.
And to this day we hymn Her
Guardian of our soil;
In every Mexican breast She reigns
Queen of all our toil.
Today we come here singing
Pilgrims that we are,
The Song of Mary Virgin
Our Country's Guiding Star.
Silvino C. N. Martinez
Demarest, Donald, and Coley Taylor.
The Dark Virgin: The Book of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
New York: Academy Guild Press, 1956.
|Lines to Our Lady of Guadalupe
"Am I not here who am thy Mother -
What dost thou fear?"
Deep in the tangled brushwood of my hours,
You are a sudden clearing, Madre mia,
Amid the choke of thorn,
And where my fears sit huddled in their trembling,
You are a soft word spoken, O Maria,
In heart's cacophany, a splendid chord!
Brave alabaster out of hope-shards builded,
What need I dream of beauty, I who know
Curve of your cheek, the raven hair low-winging,
Soft swell of lip, the delicate flight of brow!
Exuberance, be hedged in Christ oh! Sweetly
By this rumorous smile's so wistful bands;
And sorrow, find your meaning, find your haven
In this gentle fold of olive hands.
Authentic glimpse of heaven, Madre mia,
Your image my supernal dividend
On sorrow, and my pledge past all devising
Of paradisal day. What shall I fear
Of pain, of death, of diverse ignominy
When you are here, Maria, when you are here.
Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
An Indian's brown cheek curved to a dusky rose,
Once long ago upon Tepeyac's barren hill
When winter roses bloomed
And roses were mere roses in the glowing laughter
of the lady's smile.
My little son. I love you.' So all Tepeyac's holy hill
Now sang an Indian lullaby of roses and wild birds.
Anne B. Quinn
|Mary, Virgin of Guadalupe
Dark lady, you smile at me across the mountains
The secret smile of ancient people.
What thoughts do you send me, dark beautiful lady?
Will you someday tell me when I come with great
armfuls of roses
Over the mysterious mountains to your feet?
Dear, dark queen will you give me too
Lovely roses in December?
Anne B. Quinn
|Hail, O Empress of America
Hail, O Empress of America,
Our dear Queen without a stain.
Guadalupe is your title
And the throne from which you reign
Is Mount Tepeyac made blessed
When you came to earth again.
Mother Mary graced our country
With her loving presence rare.
She appeared to Juan Diego
Sending him with gentle care
To the bishop with a message
That she wished a shrine built there.
"Build a temple to my honor,
Where my mother heart may reign,
Calling all with sweet compassion;
None will come to me in vain.
All in labor or affliction
Strength and peace will find again."
The good bishop, wisely prudent,
Begged a sign of Heaven's Queen;
And the gracious Lady answered
In a manner sweet, serene;
Working miracles, inspiring
Hope through ages yet unseen.
She commanded Juan Diego
Gather roses fair and bright
Which she caused to bloom in winter
On a barren, rocky height,
On the twelfth day of December -
Blessed day! O blessed site!
She arranged them in Juan's mantle
Saying with a smile benign:
"Take these to the holy bishop,
Here he has the heavenly sign.
Do not look within your mantle
Till the bishop you will find."
When Juan opened his poor mantle
To the bishop's great surprise,
Roses fell in shower of glory
Spreading their sweet perfume wide.
But the prelate knelt in reverence;
Greater marvel met his eyes.
There upon the cheap, rough tilma,
Painted by an art divine,
Was the portrait of Our Lady,
Queen and Mother for all time,
Come to dwell in our dear country
Blessing souls with gifts sublime.
Hail, O Empress of America,
Guadalupe is your name.
Please accept our humble homage,
Bless our hearts and homes again.
Keep us loyal to our Savior
Till with Him and you we reign.
The Missionary Catechist
Four hundred and twenty-seven
Across the sea in Mexico
Our Lady of Guadalupe was seen
By an Indian poor, in clothing
Around Here shone a Heavenly
And as she left his wondering
Upon his lowly cloak so blessed
A picture of Herself she pressed.
So if there's no dissenting voice,
I feel that She should be our
December 12, 1958.
|Our Lady of Guadalupe: 1952
We have learned to laugh like cannonades
When the corners of our tears rake our faces,
Because the night lurks so broadly in our day
And the trees put up their arms like deprecations.
Can you not hear us, Mary, hear our songs
Trickle down death? We plunge our prayers like swords
Deep in the lifting bosom of your mercy,
And all the world's a lonely Tepeyac
Yearning to kiss your feet.
Come, tease our winter
With your Castilian roses! Where we dance
Wrong measures, come and balance on the moon.
Because we all grow frowsy with our fears,
Wear the blue sun again in casual folds.
All men's faces turn like pitiless mirrors
To show our terror. Take the screaming stars
Back to their happy places on your mantle.
Mary, all the world's a Tepeyac
Bleak for your coming. Paint our shabby prayer,
A rougher tilma, with your saving face.
Francis D. Clarke.
The air was strangely still and calm
That cold December day;
When Juan Diego hurried on
To church where he would pray.
Good Juan would there assist at Mass
As was his wont to do;
When suddenly before him stood
A Lady dressed in blue.
The Lady gently spoke to Juan
Up there on Tepeyac hill;
Juan listened gravely to her words;
He would her wish fulfill.
The Lady asked him kindly
Would he the Bishop tell
That here a temple must be built?
This deed would please her well.
In haste good Juan walked down the hill
And gave the message clear.
Alas! The Prelate would not believe
The words that he did hear.
Poor Juan was very sad indeed,
For he was told to bring
A sign to prove his words were true;
How could he do this thing!
That eve the Lady came again
And stood on Tepeyac hill;
She waited there for Juan to say
He did her wish fulfill.
But Juan had gone another way
Where her he would not meet.
The Lady soon appeared to him;
Good Juan fell at her feet.
The Lady then addressed poor Juan;
She told him her own name:
"Holy Mary of Guadalupe."
His fears he overcame.
Juan told her of the Bishop's doubts;
He asked her for a sign;
The Lady bade him gather now
Some roses, fresh and fine.
The Indian knew no roses grew
On Tepeyac's rocky hill;
Yet Juan Diego went at once
To do the Lady's will.
Large, lovely roses Juan saw there
Where cactus plants had grown;
And in his "tilma" gathered fast
Bright roses all full-blown.
Juan joyfully went down the hill,
Then to the palace raced;
He had the sign the Prelate wished;
All doubts would be effaced.
The "tilma" Juan presented him,
And great was Juan's surprise!
Bishop Zamarraga knelt down
With reverence in his eyes.
The roses, they were beautiful;
On the coarsely-woven cloak,
Lo! A figure of God's Mother!
Awe-stricken, no one spoke.
The Lady in the picture wears
A mantle of blue-green;
Abundant of gold and flower-like tints.
In this painting can be seen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Stands there in perfect grace.
In the hearts of all her children
She holds a sacred place.
Sr. St. Stanislas, C.D.P.
The good Jehovah, dread, magnificent,
Once chose a people whom he called his own,
And out of Egypt in a wondrous way
He brought them in a dark and troublous
And Moses touched the Red Sea with a rod,
And the waves parted, offering them a path,
His people passed, but in the abyss remained
Egyptian horse and rider who pursued.
Marched on the flock of Jacob, and the Lord
Spread over them his all protecting wings,
As the lone eagle shields her unfledged young,
He gave them lands, and victories, and spoils -
Glad nation! Which the Master of the heavens
Loved as the very apple of his eye.
But now this people, seeing themselves blessed
By him whose slightest glance they not
Erected perishable images
In homage unto strange and pagan gods.
The Lord in indignation said: "They wished
To make their Maker jealous with vain gods,
Bowing in dust the sacrilegious knee
Before the dumb creation of their hands,
Well, I will sting their hearts with jealousy,
Showing myself to all unhappy lands
Without employing vail or mystery."
He said it, and his solemn word fulfilled,
Convoking from the farthest ends of the earth
Nations barbarian and civilized -
The Gaul, the Scandinavian, Roman, Greek,
And the neglected race of Mexico,
Whom the Almighty Sovereign loved so well
The holy truth he would reveal to them -
So that the hard hearts of his people should
Be softened. Yet his mercy was not full:
Down from the diamond heavens he bade
The Virgin, who with mother's sorrowing care
Nursed him in Bethlehem when he was a child.
Near to the tremulous Tezcoco lake
Rises a bare and solitary hill,
Where never cypress tall nor cedar grows,
Nor whispering oak; nor cooling fountain
The waste of herbless rocks and sterile sand -
A barren country' tis, dry, dusty, sad,
Where the vile worm scarce drags its length
Here is the place where Holy Mary comes
Down from her home above the azure heavens
To show herself to Juan, who, comfortless,
Petitioned for relief from troubles sore.
Sometimes it chances that a fragrant plant
In the dense forest blooms unseen, unknown,
Though bright its virginal buds and rare its
So doth the modest daughter of the Lord
Obscure the moon, the planets, and the stars
Which all adorn her forehead and her feet,
When lends she the poor Indian her grace,
In bounty wonderful to all his kind.
She tenders him the waters and the dew,
Prosperity of fruits and animals,
A heart of sensible humility,
And help unfailing in his future need.
The Angel of America resumes
Her radiant flight. With grateful ear he
Twice did he wondering kneel, and twice again
He kissed the white feet of the holy maid.
But did not end God's providence benign:
The Almighty wished to leave to Mexicans
His Mother's likeness by his own great hand,
In token of the love he had for us.
He took the pencil, saying "We will make
In heaven's own image, as we moulded man.
But what was Adam to my beauteous one?"
So saying, drew he with serenest face
The gentle likeness of the Mother-maid.
He saw the image, and pronounced it good.
Since then, with the encircling love of heaven,
A son she sees in every Mexican.
Mildly the wandering incense she receives,
Attending to his vow with human face;
For her the teeming vapors yield their rain
To the green valley and the mountain side,
Where the bend and wave the abundant harvest
And the green herbs that feed the lazy kine.
She makes the purifying breezes pass,
And on the restless and unsounded seas
She stills the rigor of the hurricane.
The frighten people see the approach of death
When the broad earth upon its axis shakes,
But the wild elements are put to sleep,
With but a smile from her mild countenance.
And she has moved the adamantine heart
Of avarice, who saw decrepit age
Creep like an insect on the dusty earth,
To open his close-shut hand, and bless the poor.
She maketh humbly kneel and kiss the ground
No less the wise than simple. She the great,
Dazzled by their own glory, doth advise
That soon their gaudy pageant shall be o'er,
And heaven's oblivion shall dissolve their
How often has the timid, trembling maid
Upon the verge of ruin sought thy help,
Shutting her eyes to pleasure and to gold
At thought of thee, O Maiden pure and meek!
Centuries and ages will have vanished by,
Within their currents bearing kings and men;
Great monuments shall fall; the pyramids
Of lonely Egypt moulder in decay;
But time shall never place its fatal hand
Upon the image of the Holy Maid,
Nor on the pious love of Mexico.
Catholic World. Volume 13.
|To The Most Holy Virgin
Under the Invocation of Guadalupe
From her eternal palace, from the heavens,
One day descended to America,
When in its worst affliction, the great Mary,
Its sorrows to maternally console.
Behold in Tepeyac how watchfully
She frustrates the designs of heresy,
How she extinguishes the fire that flames
From the far French unto the Indian soil!
What matter, then, if proud Napoleon,
With his infernal hosts the world appalling,
Seeks to possess the land of Mexico?
To arms, countrymen: war, war!
For the sacred palladium of Guadalupe
Protects our native land.
The deity of peace have painters skilled
Portrayed with bounteous grace and elegance,
Painting a virgin who with fair white hands
An offering of tender blossoms bore.
Thus were their pencils' finest excellences
A promise and foreshadowing of this,
The image of Our Lady, which in heaven
Received its colors. Thus beheld it he,
The fortunate Indian, at Tepeyac,
That bare and desolate hill, a miracle,
That unto day has been perpetuate.
Now while the world's ablaze with lively war,
Seems that affrighted peace has taken refuge
Within the happy households of our land.
Volume 13. Pages 189-195.
Of Guadalupe, that fair image pictured
Unto the venerating eye of Mexico;
With stars and light adorned, the figure paint-
Of a most modest Maiden, full of grace;
What image is it? Copy 'tis divine
Of the Mother of God.
And what assures me this? My tender thought.
Who the design conceived? The holiest love.
Who then portrayed it? The eternal God.
Fr. Manuel Sartorio
Volume 13. Pages 189-195.